Re: Peer review and ID

From: Freeman, Louise Margaret <>
Date: Fri Oct 21 2005 - 16:09:13 EDT

Well, I'll take a stab at it.

5) Evolution is an extremely important theory in the fields of biology (and,
FWIW, psychology!) which has had and continues to have much impact in the
world of scientific research, just as many of the other theories* (a term
which we have meticulusly defined according to the exacting standards of the
NAS, not via PubMed searches and have communicated to students with perfect
clarity) you will encounter and critically evaluate in our comprehensive
program have done.

The theory of evolution, as first envisioned by Darwin and Wallace and as
refined and expanded by later researchers, is controversial in some
philosophical and religious circles for several reason. First, it is
sometimes misdefined as philosophically equivalent to atheism. Second, it
conflicts with literal readings of creation accounts and other scripture
passages of certain religions, most notably the Old Testament of the
Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition. As a publically funded school, we care
very deeply about the varitety of religious viewpoints represented in our
student body and are committed, as much as humanly possible, to providing a
supportive learning environment for all students. It is our goal to neither
promote or degrade any particular religious, spiritual or philososphical
worldview. As flawed human beings, we may fall short of that ideal, but in
the process we hope to both provide our students with a strong basic
background in science and to help them to develop the skills needed to
thoughtfully examine such controversies later in life. However, we will not
address specific religious teachings in this class. Students who see
conflicts with the science we teach and their personal religious convictions
are encouraged to use the research and critical thinking skills we are so
effectively developing to investigate these concerns using the resources
available at the school library, public library, the internet or any of the
fine churches, synogoges, mosques, covens and other assorted religious
establishments that are out there exercising their constitutionally
guaranteed freedoms in this great country of ours.

A new aspect of our cirriculuum is a unit on the history and philosphy of
science, made possible by the dedicated teachers who have been trained to
effectively teach this complex subject and the local, state and federal
governments willing to fund that training. Included in the unit are
definitions of various philosophical worldviews held by scientists,
including atheistic materialism, methodological naturalism and intelligent
design. The implications of these diverse world-views for both the practice
of science, the practice of religion, and various strategies for reconciling
conflicts between those two fields will also be addressed. This unit will
include a field trip to see Drama club's production of the newly released,
"Better Inheritance, Better Wind," a riveting and historically accurate
play, based on the transcripts of the Michael Behe and Keith Miller
testimonies in the notorious 2005 Pennsylvania "Panda Trial."

However, the bulk of coursework will consist of the study of science itself,
rather than the history and philosophy of science. Evolution is a crucial
scientific topic and, as such, will be a key component of our cirriculuum,
until such a time when evolutionary theory is rejected by the bulk of
mainstream scientists. Students and parents are advised not to hold their
breath waiting for this to happen.

*examples of some of these other theories include cell theory and germ
theory, which you will study in biology, and atomic theory and the theory of
relativity, which you will study in physics.

Louise M. Freeman, PhD
Psychology Dept
Mary Baldwin College
Staunton, VA 24401
FAX 540-887-7121

> (4) Hey, evolution is a fact, whether or not you believe it. I don't
> actually give a S*&$ about what you believe, whatever your religion
> teaches is your private matter, and you can deal with evolution
> privately any way that you wish. As for your tax dollars, well, a
> little thing called the First Amendment says that I win and you lose.
> If you don't want your kids taught evolution, send them to school
> somewhere else. If you can't afford that, well, life isn't always
> fair. Grow up.
> ***
> I'd be interested to see expressions of other views that I've not
> described here, and actual suggestions for what ought to be done about
> this. As Mr Lincoln said, you can't please all of the people all of
> the time, but if in a democracy we can't deal more constructively with
> something that is this important to so many people, then I think we're
> in deep trouble.
> Ted
Received on Fri Oct 21 16:12:23 2005

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